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Medicare to cover YMCA diabetes prevention class

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In a press conference this week, the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis announced they have been chosen to participate in a demonstration project that will track the effectiveness of the Diabetes Prevention Program among Medicare Recipients. The YMCA of Greater Indianapolis is one of 17 branches across the country selected for this pilot.

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The Health Care Innovation Award by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) was awarded to the YMCA of the USA who selected the sites. This money will go toward recruiting participants into the program and to cover the overall program costs. The total award of 12 million dollars will also reimburse the participating Y branches on a pay for performance basis for delivering the program to at least 10,000 Medicare members. It will also help to create more advanced technology platform to help with screening and enrolling participants into the program. This program which is also offered to the public on a fee basis is now accessible to lower income individuals who are among the most vulnerable group of pre-diabetics.

"We have offered the YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program for six years and we've seen great results and will now be able to reach even more people in need," said Eric Ellsworth, President and CEO for the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis. The evidence based prevention program has shown great success in reducing a participant’s risk of developing diabetes through basic lifestyle coaching and education. Facilitators for the program go through the national training and teach the program at YMCA branches throughout Indianapolis as well as other community locations based on need. This is a unique model for taking large scale program and using the YMCA’s connection with the community to deliver and administer the intervention.

The evidence based program meets once a week for 16 weeks for one hour then meets once a month on a maintenance basis which increases the chance for life long success. The long term goal of the program is to reduce the participant’s body weight by 7% and increasing their activity level to 150 minutes per week. The slow weight loss and lifestyle approach can reduce the risk by 70% which then reduces the future financial burden on the healthcare system making it very attractive as the US faces cuts to the Medicare Medicaid program. You can visit the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis web site to learn more about enrolling.

Eric Ellsworth sums up the impact of tests like this on our health care future, “Participation in this project will not only help us further prevent diabetes in a population that is at great risk, but will help shape the future of how prevention programs are delivered and paid for across the nation.” Another example of how Hoosiers are creating innovative solutions to some of our nation’s toughest challenges.

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